Apologies to Jack K. and Willie N. for the title. The last few weeks have found me traveling to a number of auctions and responding to several responses from my Craigslist post. Also, people are heeding that “See Paul on Mondays and Thursdays” message we tell them when they claim to have older material. Some success, some wastes of times, some scratching of the head.
On Friday nights, you’ll find me in Elmer, New Jersey at the weekly auction. Usually, three different auctions are going on at the same time. One auctioneer handles the items on the dock, plants, the tool room and the occasional automobile. Two others share the workload of pushing out the hundreds of items in the “antique” room (jewelry, coins, other collectibles, musical instruments, artwork, etc.) and another takes control of the “rings” in the large room. In auction lingo, a “ring” refers to groups of tables with assorted merchandise. The female auctioneer who handles this room is a riot. If you’re thin-skinned, stay out of this area, as she WILL call you out if you do something dumb. In this last section, potential bidders may ask for items to be brought up in no particular order. If you happen to attend this auction alone, as I do, you might find yourself running back and forth between areas due to what is being offered and when. This is where I picked up that Mickey Mouse Magazine #1 for just 5 bucks a few months back. I’ve picked up a few stacks of comics recently that had a key issue in them and bought a Super Powers Hall of Justice. I lucked out here since I did not inspect it before bidding on it. When it was handed to me, it was dirty and it appeared to be missing some pieces when I opened the one half. BUT, upon opening the other half, there were 4 figures from 1984 in GREAT shape – Flash, Aquaman (no trident), Green Lantern with the lantern, and a real nice Batman with cape and punching action! Those 4, according to sold items on eBay, should easily be worth more than I paid for it all. A note about one of the auctioneers in the antigue room: He routinely makes anti-Obama statements. Does he actually think everyone in the room feels as he does?
A recent auction held by Rhoades & Rhoades up north of here featured more dolls and Pez dispensers than I have ever seen in one place. Thousands of each. And loads of soakies. I didn’t get up early on a Saturday morning for them. I wanted the comics they advertised. Through-out the auction, I noticed that the staff was extremely attentive to the needs and comfort of the bidders – getting them chairs or boxes and even carrying out loads to their cars. While waiting for the comics to come up (they moved them during the auction to a more open space for a second auctioneer), I grabbed some box lots that caught my fancy. One that I picked up had a Pez dispenser price guide, some of those Spider-Man Collectible Series give-a-ways that reprinted the early stories, and other ephemera. I got it for 5 dollars. Turns out, there was a complete, but beat, set of 1964 Civil War news trading cards in the box. I sold that within one day on eBay for $35. All 24 of the Spider-Man series comics were there! and I got the guide, which was what I wanted. For $20, I bought a 1946 set of Mickey Mouse Library of Games card sets – neat graphics. When a particular box lot did not sell, it was thrown in with one I did have my eye on – a group of Star Wars soakies. These containers look like the characters from the movies and, while some were empty, about half of them had never been opened and still were full with bubble bath. When I got home, I checked out the other box lot. It had over 100 (loads and loads of doubles) plastic, figural sugar and cinnamon containers – 6 were still unopened. Who collects this stuff? Anyway, after about 4 hours, the head auctioneer stated that they were going to save the comics for the next auction!! Another potential bidder and I approached him and he agreed to let the comics sell. They ended up being the last items of the sale, and I ended up being the last person to pay and get out of there. I bought quite a few lots, including one with Batman marbles and pins, several with complete card sets, and, of course, comics. It wasn’t until I got home and started going through my acquisitions, that I realized that the two boxes of card sets were still at the auction house. Expecting to just get an answering machine, at best, I called to leave a message around 6:00 PM on a Saturday night. To my surprise, I got a real person! They had an answering service, even this late on a weekend night. I explained my screw-up and hoped I would get a call-back on Monday. No, within a few minutes, Mr. Rhoades, himself, calls me and gives me the number of a staff member, Shane, who would be able to assist me. I call that number, get an answering machine and leave a message for Shane. Unbelievably, he returns my call that evening and assures me that he took care of them. Monday morning, Shane and my cards were waiting for me. Now that’s above and beyond the call. Kudos for the great service at Rhoades & Rhoades Auction House!
I wasted a lot of time and shook my head in amazement last Wednesday evening at an auction where they never got to the few comics advertised. Wasted my time for the comics, but did learn something none the less. A collection of old phones brought some serious money. These were not among the showcase items but in a “ring” of tables consisting of 4′ by 8′ plywood panels on saw horses. Toward the end, there were three lamps coming up. Now, I know nothing about furniture, and am even more convinced about it after what went down. Each lamp was about two feet tall, with what appeared to me as cheap Wal-mart shades and an oriental figurine on the base. The first one had an absentee bidder and started at one hundred bucks! An Asian gentleman in the crowd bid against the left bids and won it for $850! The second one also started at $100 and when it hit $300, the Asian gentleman throw out “One Thousand!” and that ended that. Then, the third one was auctioned. This time, they had a bidder on the phone. Our man in the crowd received applause as the auctioneer knocked it down at TWO THOUSAND! True story! That alone caused all of us to shake our heads. A few of us surmised that the figurines must have been made of ivory. But what I saw afterward really got me. The gentleman put his three prizes (well over $4,000 worth with the “Buyer’s Premium” added) on an empty table and he and his wife then proceeded to carry out other cheapo items to their vehicle outside. The lamps could have been knocked over and damaged, possibly stolen.
I made my first ever storage bin buy last week! No, unlike the shows, I didn’t outbid others, but met a collector at his bin and bought his collection of comics – nothing major, but some decent GACHA fodder! Recently, a gentleman came in the shop with 3 keys issues. They were low grade, but complete. When asked how much he wanted for them, he replied $2,000. I showed him the guide and with the grades they were in, I would only hope to get $800 total. I guess his original asking price embarrassed him, as he didn’t come back with a lower price. Another in store possible purchase ended abruptly, because as I started to go through the short box of comics being offered, an adult silverfish came out and ran across the top of the books. The father of the seller also saw it and crushed it with his fingers. Sorry, folks, once a creepy crawler appears, we’re done!
Look for some of my winnings to surface at the Flea Market we are hosting this Memorial Day, May 28th. Spaces are still available for just $15. Stop by the shop to sign up.
On a strange note, while driving to the shop, I was behind someone (out of state tag) who took egoism to the limit. Now I have to plead guilty to owning a “vanity” tag, a way of boasting. Yes, my Chevelle does have a 402 big block in it. Still, I would never consider a tag that read “GODZFAV”! And, before you ask…yes, it was a caddy!